City life. You know how it gets to you from time to time, right? Crowded sidewalks, dense smog, rude drivers. However, the worst of all is that incessant feeling that you just can’t find some peace and quiet in your life, for you’re always surrounded by the same routine of the city landscape no matter which direction you look.
In Kaohsiung, Taiwan, a city of nearly 1.5 million residents, the place I’ve called home for 6.5 years of my life, and Taiwan’s second largest, yet most-industrious urban center, I find myself regularly in need of a break from the routine. Though there are decent places here that provide respite from the hustle and bustle of city living, such as miniature escapes to the harbor, walks in the countless parks, or hiding in a corner of a cozy café, it is necessary to leave town from time to time. Whenever we can, we pack up our car and head south for Kenting, an unknown-by-the-global-masses beach getaway that provides just that.
After a 2.5-hour ride south, I regularly sense relief and relaxation on the horizon. Not only is there an emotional change in the air but there is also a noticeable visual transformation that occurs, for as you approach one section of the coast, you can actually see a wall of impending blue skies, dramatically in contrast with the grey canopy of air pollution that seems to envelop the western half of the country, which has covered the horizon for most of the trip down.
Once there, all seems forgotten. Whether or not we lounge on the remote Baisha Beach, laze at a favorite Thai food eatery, or loaf at a friend’s cozy B&B, we are bound to unwind, proving that getting away from it all is an indispensible antidote against urban living.